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What is new?
Every child in the UK up to the age of 16 has a right to an education, regardless of their immigration status.
What is happening?
From 2016, as part of the School Census, schools were required by the Department for Education to collect the nationality and country of birth of children aged 5 – 19. In April 2018, following a two-year campaign and legal action, the Department for Education said that it no longer required schools to collect this information. However, it says it will not delete the information collected between 2016 and 2018.
Your child’s school should no longer ask for their nationality or country of birth. If they do, you have the right to say no.
Other personal information collected through the school census (home address for example) is stored in the National Pupil Database. This information can be shared with the Home Office if they try to trace you.
Why is this a problem?
Every month, the Home Office requests information collected through the school census to start re-investigating families who may be in the UK without leave to remain. The Home Office may ask the Department for Education to check the database for the addresses of specifically named people.
What are mine and my children’s rights?
Parents are obliged to fill in the census form. This means you have to provide a home address to the school.
Schools should not ask children for their nationality or country of birth.
Neither you nor your child should be asked for your children’s passport or identity documents. If you are concerned about your children’s nationality and country of birth information still being held by the government, you can make a complaint. Contact Schools ABC or Liberty if you would like to do this.
If you are concerned about your children’s address being shared with the Home Office so that they may trace you or your family member, you may be able to bring a legal action. Contact Liberty if you would like information about this.